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£572,000 investment in social enterprises to promote diversity and inclusion

02 Mar 2020
Latest figures show that 20 social enterprises in Wales have benefited from funding totalling £572,000 from the award winning social investment programme SE Assist. 

Launched in Wales in 2015, SE Assist is managed by CAF Venturesome, Legal & General and the Wales Co-operative Centre, with support from Welsh Government, Business in the Community and the Institute of Directors Wales. Working with the Charities Aid Foundation, SE Assist delivers a package of mentoring, financial and consultancy support for Social Enterprises. 

The SE-Assist fund helps social organisations with a clear social or environmental impact that have an annual turnover of less than £500,000 and are working towards a sustainable business model. The fund provides interest free loans of up to £30,000 (interest bearing up to £60,000) repayable over three years to help social organisations with cashflow to build long-term sustainability or development finance to help them grow.   Experienced business mentors are also provided to support growth. 

Those supported in 2019 include the Wales Restorative Approaches Partnership (WRAP), a social enterprise delivering restorative justice services for public, private and community sector clients. Wrexham based Inspire Alpine also benefitted from funding and support. The organisation was set up in 2018 with the mission of helping to close the attainment gap faced by disadvantaged young people. 

SE Assist also supported a luxury wash and lifestyle social enterprise, The Goodwash Company, that produces 100% natural, vegan and eco-friendly products for hair, body and dogs.  All their products are sourced from only the very finest natural ingredients from land and sea.  They give 100% of their profit to local projects that improve the lives of animals and people in Wales.  To date they have funded a youth homeless helpline, a maternity unit at a homeless rescue centre for dogs and helped twelve people, who would otherwise be excluded, to completed training qualifications.

The popular programme was set up and is managed in Wales by Lynne Sheehy, Social Responsibility Manager for Legal & General in Wales. She also sits on the Arts & Business Cymru - Culturestep Committee, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Wales Business Advisory Group, and the Heads of the Valleys Business Class Committee. 

Lynne was the recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion Award at the 2019 IOD Wales Awards. She said: “We are proud that through our SE-Assist Fund we can offer social organisations affordable, flexible, repayable finance. This means that our investees can find new and better solutions for challenges within their local community, which results in stronger social organisations sustaining and growing their social impact on real people’s lives.
“With over 20 investments to date totalling £572,000 in Wales, we’ve had an overwhelming level of interest in the fund which is a great reflection of our commitment to diversity and inclusion as drivers of economic growth.” 

Robert Lloyd Griffiths OBE is Director of IOD Wales. He added: “SE Assist helps to address the need for social investment in social enterprises as well as entrepreneurial charities. These organisations are a vital force in driving the regeneration of communities, creating much needed job opportunities and a vibrant, diverse and inclusive local economy. 

“That’s why it is so important that we recognise the work that professionals like Lynne do. Lynne has been and continues to be a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion including mental health, dementia, gender equality and homelessness. 

“Lynne’s dedication and commitment to making Wales a more diverse and inclusive nation is exceptional hence her award last year. We’re delighted to play a small part in the delivery of SE Assist and are proud of the opportunities, creativity and innovation created as a result.”

Business leaders across Wales will be recognised for their talent and contribution at the Institute of Directors (IoD) Wales’ tenth annual awards ceremony to be held on Friday 22 May at the Sophia Gardens Cricket Stadium. 

Sponsored by Cardiff Business School with ITV as media partner, the search is on to find outstanding directors and senior managers in Wales. Winners from the Wales awards will go forward to the IoD UK Awards which will be held in London in October 2020. Entries can be completed online at: 

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